Aug 8, 2022 - News

Denver flooding prompts rescues, state probe

A drivers moves through a partly-flooded residential street in Denver. Photo: Esteban L. Hernandez/Axios

Heavy rain flooded several streets across the Denver area on Sunday, resulting in dozens of service calls to the city's fire department. No injuries were reported.

Driving the news: Flooding struck residential streets and highways, with parts of the metro area seeing as much as 1.61 inches in about 20 minutes, and some areas seeing up to three-quarter-inch hailstones.

  • Some areas near and around Denver got as much as 1.85 inches of total rain, according to the National Weather Service.
  • The Safeway location in the Mayfair neighborhood was evacuated after its roof collapsed due to water damage, according to a witness.
  • Meanwhile, video posted on Twitter showed firefighters rescuing children.
  • The flooding led to closures along Interstate 70 starting shortly after 8pm Sunday. It reopened just under two hours later.

The latest: Pumps intended to keep the highway clear of water didn't turn on automatically as they should have, a spokesperson for Kiewit, the company behind I-70's construction, said in a statement.

By the numbers: In the aftermath, the Denver Fire Department said Monday it performed 29 rescues, stemming from 78 total calls for service on Sunday evening, with nine specifically about static water rescue.

  • 11 people were rescued from cars stuck alongside the I-70 and York Street.
  • Eight people in an incapacitated minivan along an underpass were rescued near 38th and Blake streets.
  • Six people near 14th Avenue and Krameria Street were assisted by fire crews.

Our thought bubble via Axios' Andrew Freedman: Human-caused climate change is causing an increase in heavy precipitation events across the U.S. and the world, which is overwhelming infrastructure that was not designed for such extreme events.

What's next: The Colorado Department of Transportation said an investigation would follow to understand what caused the flooding near the portion of I-70 that remains under-construction in north Denver, leaving hundreds of drivers stranded along the stretch.

Editor's note: This story has been updated with new details.


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